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TheStreet Open House

Netflix: Buy, Sell or Remain Confused?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Through Netflix's (NFLX) momentum-driven frenzy past $300, bulls ridiculed me. When the stock crashed toward the end of 2011, I was vindicated, although I do regret not taking what the market gave -- as irrational as it was -- and riding the dog long for at least a little while.

In any event, Wall Street had no clue on NFLX last year and the cluelessness continues into 2012-13.

Morgan Stanley upgraded NFLX on Monday. At his blog, TheStreet's Scott Rutt asked, where in the heck were they prior to NFLX's 30% two-week run?

In late July, I started turning bullish NFLX.

In Prepare to Buy Netflix Before It Rises From the Dead, I cited content costs as one of several reasons for my change in sentiment. That was part of Morgan's Johnny-come-lately bull case from this week.

At the end of July, NFLX traded for $57.75. Of course, it ended Monday's session at $73.52 before pulling back a bit Tuesday.

After the stock's recent run, there's mixed opinion on NFLX. You have houses such as Morgan recommending it. Take that with a grain of salt.

And you have BofA/Merrill downgrading it on the basis of valuation and the recent run. While I appreciate the call for caution, I rarely use valuation and strength as reasons to stop buying a growth/momo stock, particularly if you're looking at it as more than a trade. For long-term investors, nothing but the forward-looking story matters; therefore, if you're bullish, this weakness could present a buying opportunity.

That said, I tend to agree with TheStreet and CNBC's Jim Cramer, who simply calls the stock "hard to own".

That's how stocks driven by a mix of emotion and clueless Wall Street sentiment roll. They gyrate for no apparent reason. And the so-called expert analysts only make accurate assessments when their insight and information has become painfully obvious. That makes it difficult to commit. I prefer to stay on the sidelines.

One of the few folks who was on the ball, re: NFLX, throughout 2011 is CNBC's Herb Greenberg. On Monday, he wrote a piece that gets at a core Netflix issue: Has subscriber growth hit a wall?

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